Tag Archives: NASCAR

And Here’s What I Have To Say About That…

Happy Friday. Here’s a look back at what got everyone’s panties in a wad this week:
(was just easier to spit it all into one post)
Warning: Brassy Level 10

So… NAPCAR sure made the most of their new show pony … er show Sparkle Pony.
It was all Danica, all the time. 24/7 coverage of her during “Speedweek”
Hell, I got bombarded by more Danistar news/tidbits daily than I did when she was in IndyCar, and I hadn’t watched one minute of Nascar coverage on tv or online until the Juan Pablo CarBQ.

I had to have a little empathy for the NASCAR fans of the other 42 drivers on the grid. Welcome to IndyCar with Fenders boys and girls. Y’all might as well get on the Dayglo green bandwagon now, cause once it’s in motion there is no stopping it, and it will only frustrate you trying to fight it.

NASCAR 2012: Danica and the other guys Continue reading


2 more days til MY sports season begins

alright… Got all of that Football stuff out of your system?

Good, because now it’s time to concentrate on some real sports entertainment! Racing and Cars!

That’s right, over the course of the next week, things kick off in a big way, especially here in Toronto.

First up, this weekend is the annual Canadian Motorsports Expo, or CME as it’s known in these parts. In a stroke of genius, the powers that be decided to push the date from it’s usual dreary January weekend, to the second weekend in February.

Why is this important? Well, a number of reasons, but the main one being it’s close proximity to the Canadian International Auto Show (that kicks off next Thursday, and I’ll be there too) This makes it a great lead in to the automotive season here in Toronto. Plus, the football season is done (apparently they played their last game during the Madonna concert last weekend) leaving a good portion of the male population wanting something to do on the weekend besides tackle their “honey-do list” 😉 And, though they could never have predicted this, the weather has been ridiculously pleasant this winter. (of course now that I’ve said that, there will be Snowmageddon this weekend)

At first glance at the handy electronic version of the show program
There looks to be a much larger presence this year. The layout appears to have changed substantially, and there certainly appears to be a larger corporate footprint mixed in with the smaller “mom & pop” operations.

What am I looking forward to? The discussion!
Yes, it’s the annual meeting of the motorsports minds. The who’s who of Canadian (Ontarian?) motorsports journalists hold a Q & A panel each year (Saturday), while I, the “who the fuck is that chick?” of Canadian motorsports journalists, sits in the audience and heckles… er “asks questions” 😉
There are actually things to talk about this year! In years previous, much of the discussion at the CME amongst my colleagues and friends amounted to nothing more than speculation because as you well know, other than the mega teams, very few deals are signed, sealed and delivered in January. This year of course was a bit of an anomaly as teams were eager to secure drivers sooner rather than later to take advantage of the limited testing of the new car, a time sensitive priority with the first race 46 days away. (not that I’m counting… but I’m counting)

Speaking of the new car; you can get up close and personal with the DW12 at the show courtesy of the Honda Indy Toronto, who themselves will once again have a presence after a year absent from the show. Come down, ask about the car, ask about the race, get revved up for July!!

oh, right, you want to know about drivers?

Ya, they have those too! As is the case currently in North America, it’s all about NASCAR, (there really is no accounting for taste 😉 ) so much of the special guest action is NASCAR centric (hey, they’re probably footing most of the bill too, so good on them) This year features both CDN & US stars who will feature prominently throughout the weekend: Carl Edwards, Robert Yates, Randy LaJoie & Scott Steckly But don’t fret Open Wheel/Road racing fans, CME stalwart Ron Fellows will be there again (should be interesting to pick his brain about Mosport) and the most important feature, for me anyway, up and coming open wheel SUPERSTAR (though he’s always been one in my book) James Hinchcliffe! (he’s there on Sunday)

So, it looks like I will spend a good portion of my weekend on the fricken Go-Bus to and from downtown to the fricken boonies about behind the Airport to the International Centre. (my biggest complaint about this show, especially as a non-driver) (no, the irony of that is not lost on me) On the bright side, at least I know once I’m there, I will have plenty of sights and sounds to occupy my time! But don’t just take my word for it, come check it out for yourself!

And be sure to say HI! if you’re down there. Tweet me a hello @whatimthinking

Boogity Boogity Boogity!

it’s Daytona 500 day kids!
Yup… watching.
Apparently I’m desperate for racing.

Actually, I figured I would start watching at the start of the season and semi-follow it this year. I’m gonna hop on the Stewart/Newman bandwagon, with a little extra for Marcos Ambrose and Joey Lagano.
(I still can’t believe Carpentier isn’t in the field this year… bullshit)

I have my laptop and my spiffy new (loaned to me) monitor going. I’m telling you, it makes a huge difference. Especially when you’re watching via internet stream, blogging, following T&S, twittering (@whatimthinking), etc… This is good practice for our (openwheel) season coming up.

The “racing” itself is about as exciting as watching paint dry. (especially on ovals) at least until the last 20 or so laps, so I’m not doing a typical live blog like I do for Open Wheel. I’m concentrating on the broadcast itself. It’s quite eye opening to watch the PR/marketing machine in motion. NASCAR certainly is a Juggernaut when it comes to that.

Every commercial is related to NASCAR in some way. (driver/series/teams sponsors) Every commercial break has an ad that features one or two drivers via their sponors. Even the tracks are getting in on the act, showing vintage footage and promoting ticket discounts. (very smart)

IndyCar has got to up their game in this avenue on all levels. Each team/sponsor has got to up their game too. The ad buys for the races have got to be filled with more than Danica ad’s. NASCAR drivers can’t be the only drivers with personalities. Hell, if all it takes is a southern “good ol’boy” accent, then I’ll personally coach our boys to put one on! LOL!

Lap 80 my NASCAR pool pic for this race just got introduced to the safer barrier. He’s ok.

Awkwardly placed Big movie trailer premiere to kill off the yellow laps. (The Watchmen)

That NAPA commercial is funny. (Waltrip should stick to commercials hehe)

Rain is imminent. Race is now “official” at half way point. Folks are now racing for the best position in the pack should this thinkg get red flagged.

HUGE wreck on lap 124. Taking out a crap load of cars, including Kyle Busch who had lead the most laps and can’t seem to buy a break this weekend.

About that…Something I’ve noticed over the course of the last week: Kyle Busch has definitely done some PR/media training in the off season. He is a completely different person from the cocky, petulant child we saw throughout the season in 08. Maybe he didn’t like the moniker of NASCAR’S “bad boy” he was labeled with last year.

Well, rain & tv windows decided the race. Anti-climactic ending to a pretty anti-climactic race. meh. Congrats to Matt Kenseth. It matters not how you got there, but that you were at the front when the checkers waved.

Autoshow revisited…

So I dropped by the Autoshow on my way home last night. Since it was the official opening day, I wanted to see what the crowds were like and what, if any, improvements/tweaks had happened since media day.

My biggest concern of course was the Honda Indy Toronto booth (or well, the Toronto Sun booth supporting the race)

Of  course I had no choice but to first pass by the NASCAR Pavillion. (it’s right at the bottom of the escalators heading to the main exhibit hall) (see pics)

Say what you will about it, but they’ve got it right.  Two show cars (CDN drivers) flank the front. Two large ultra cool tv screens hanging above the booth broadcasting SPEEDTV live coverage. (conveniently it’s Daytona Weekend, so there’s lots of coverage) “Have bus will travel” is there. They run tours to several Nascar events. They have uniforms that look like crew shirts, and are very knowledgeable about the series. There is a pit crew challenge set up. (half a car where you change a tire and pretend to refuel) and two Nascar racing simulators. Several banners featuring drivers, and branding everywhere. And it’s loud. The girl running the pit challenge is mic’d, the simulators are cranked and the tv’s are live and loud. It gets your attention whether you like racing or not.

My heart sank into the pit of my stomach as I made my way into the main hall to find the Honda Indy Toronto booth. I was pleasantly surprised to find it moved to a much more visible, central location and a much bigger set up. I wandered around, took some pics. There weren’t many folks milling about. Some kids on the simulators (not Open Wheel unfortch), and a girl sitting on the couch ignoring the racing video playing, texting someone on her phone. I walked around to the front desk where the three booth bunnies were engaged in a conversation about something. (one with her back to me) It took a few minutes but finally one of them asked me if I wanted to fill out a ballot. I explained I was media, which snapped them all to attention, and prompted them to ask me if I had any questions. I asked how the response had been so far, if people were asking questions about the race, etc… They said that the response so far had been positive.  Over the course of the conversation all three revealed they knew nothing about racing. :bangs head on desk: To their credit however, they were mature and engaging, and inquisitive while talking to me about racing, so I guess that scores them points. Also, they are representing the Toronto Sun, not the race, so not their fault really. That said, would it really break the bank to have someone actually representing the race it self, who is knowledgeable about the series and the event, to also be on hand to field questions?? Also, I would have had the show car down in the main booth. Or the main booth up by the show car. Keeping everything together.

Sadly there is no real information on the race itself at the booth. Nothing about the schedule, the series, the support races, etc… Just several contests that you can enter. Win tickets to the race, win the pace car, win a trip to St. Petes (for the race) Actually there was a lot of St. Petes stuff. (travel brochures, etc…)

The Princess will be there next week to sign autographs. No need to express how I feel about that. It was explained to me earlier this week when I questioned the logic of not using a CDN driver to promote that being an AGR event, they will be utilizing their own resources to promote the race. (ie: drivers, cars, etc…) I get that, but I don’t have to like it.

For those not going to the Autoshow or not locals but planning to attend the Toronto Race, here is a little heads up for you. If you go to www.hondaindytoronto.com before Feb 22 and enter the promo code: Andretti, you will recieve a FREE paddock pass ($40 value) with every grandstand seat purchased. So, if you’re planning to buy, might as well pony up now, and get a deal. Ticket sales are actually going well according to my source. Everything else aside, I want to see my race not only succeed but flourish for many years to come, so again, happy to hear that.

The crowd was pretty sparse last night. I would  imagine most folks are waiting till the weekend to spend a full day there. Also they have a great family weekend pass offer.

I have to say too, that their are a lot of people manning the little side boths who are about as engaging as a tree stump. No smiles, no hello, no “can I answer a question, interest you in the product I’m supposed to be hawking?” Nope. Just disinterested, blank stares. Now I’ve done several booth bunny stints for a variety of different shows. It really doesn’t take more than a smile and “enjoy the show” to bring someone to your booth or make them feel welcome. It amazes me that some of these people are earning a wage to do this.

OH, there was a booth… “buddy” I guess as he was a he… LOL.. who was at the Sunoco display upstairs (which also has a NASCAR show car) and who engaged in a conversation with me, even after I told him I wasn’t interested in entering the contest. He noticed my racing cap, and started a conversation. (smart) which kept me there making his booth seem more appealing to other passersby. That also sparked him to inform me that Ron Fellows was going to be there on Monday between 2-4pm to sign autographs. (of course there was no signage to that effect, so unless you’re psychic you wouldn’t have had a clue about it…)

Engaging and knowledgeable.

In this economic climate, when purchasing a car is more of a fantasy for folks than ever, the more appealing you can make the whole experience, the better for all involved.

Anyway, here are some more pics. I’m going to try and make it down on Monday, and then of course I have to grin and bear it and go cover Princess Danica’s appearance on Wednesday.

Autoshow Gallery 2

he didn’t set the world on fire…

but he drove a clean race and actually finished. Could have been worse. Could have been better. But hey, I’m sure the “native of Montreal” is happy with his performance. (WTF?? do your research Waltrip) Newsflash, not every Canadian driver is from Montreal… spaz.

What’s worse than oval racing? Nascar trucks oval racing. ugh. But my allegiance to my fave tough guy meant I spent a better part of Friday night watching a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of, and a handful of guys I have, drive around in a circle, mostly under caution. Good lord… what a snoozefest.
Thankfully I watched on my computer, so was able to supplement the 150 caution laps with some really good programming on the food network. (seriously, “Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives” is some good stuff!)

I don’t know, nor do I care really, who won the thing (come to think of it, I think it was Newman actually) but I do know that Paul finished the race without wrecking himself or anyone else, which is always a good thing, especially in your debut when you are desperately trying to line something up for the upcoming year.

He started 22nd, and worked his way cleanly up to 10th at one point. Shortly after they mentioned that he lightly touched the wall, which I think affected the handling as he began to sink like a stone through the field. Too bad, as he had quite the run going. He finished 20, 3 laps down.

I hope if he decides to go the NAPcar route that he gets himself a Nationwide ride instead of the trucks. At least I could tune in and be interested in the road courses.

In a perfect world, he will find his way back to open wheel… fingers crossed.